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Are current climate initiatives unfair to developing nations?

November 17, 2022

World leaders are gathered in Egypt for COP27, a global summit to share ideas about mitigating the climate crisis. The planet faces irreversible tipping points if the temperature warms by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

To stave off the worst effects, global greenhouse gas emissions must drop by 45% by 2030. However, the climate initiatives currently in place will cut emissions only 5% to 10% by that date. 

Rahul Tongia, a senior fellow with the Centre for Social and Economic Progress in New Delhi and a nonresident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, argues that the path to reducing the production of heat-trapping gases is through “practical and equitable emissions trajectories.” 

Tongia believes that developed nations must aggressively cut their emissions instead of asking developing nations to “leapfrog” fossil fuels to renewable energy. “Poorer countries already face the brunt of climate change, but they want to do their fair share of mitigation,” he wrote in a piece published by Brookings. “They may even do some amount of unfair share. But this cannot mean climate absolutism.” 

“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal spoke to Tongia about the relationship between energy technology and economic growth and how current climate initiatives are unfair toward developing nations.

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